MMA icon McGregor proclaims Donovan as Ireland’s next great

Conor McGregor onceproclaimed welterweight Paddy Donovan as the next great Irish boxer. 

Donovan fights on Saturday, January 27, against Williams Andres Herrera in Belfast, Northern Ireland. 

Donovan, aged 25 and nicknamed ‘The Real Deal’, is looking to parlay his amateur success into pro stardom and iconic UFC fighter McGregor recently told him he sees his potential. 

“I got to see him in Dubai a couple of weeks ago, he came right over,” Donovan told ProBox TV. “He recognized me, shook hands, and told me I am the next big star from Ireland boxing and that he has been watching my career.

“[It was] an amazing feeling. I was with a bunch of Team [Joseph] Parker guys, and for him to come over was an amazing feeling. He is someone you look up to so much, even though as a fighter you try to not to do the things that he has done. His personality, his love for the game, his passion, the way he fights, predicts rounds.

“Even though he [McGregor] has had his ups and downs, he keeps the Irish fighting spirit alive.”

Donovan is starting the first fight of a three-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing and hopes to return after this fight on Katie Taylor’s card, rumored for Croke Park in Dublin, Ireland, in May. He also wants a fight with Lewis Crocker in Limerick, Ireland.

“Yes, a massive fight against a fellow Irishman,” Donovan added. “Lewis Crocker. He is ranked No.5 in the world, he is the European champion at the division right now. It’s one of the most talked about fights on the island. Everyone wants to see it. It is the biggest fight out there that the Irish can offer… I want to fight him, he wants to fight me.”

Donovan, who is undefeated 12-0, with 9 KOs doesn’t see Crocker struggling in his upcoming bout against Jose Felix Jr. Felix Jr recently knocked out and shocked Gary Cully, but will be moving up two weight classes to face Felix Jr. 

“Lewis is a lot bigger a lot stronger,” Donovan continued. “He is a proper 147lbs fighter. His opponent comes from 130 [lbs] up. I know [Jose Felix Jr] has beaten an Irish prospect, Gary Cully, at 135 [lbs] back in May. He is a good fighter, but he is just not at the right [weight] category for Lewis, I think Lewis is going to be quite strong for him… I could see [Crocker] getting him out of there in the first couple of rounds.”